Hesston’s basketball teams have earned the chance to defend their Class 3A state championships.
Both Swather teams claimed sub-state titles on their home court Saturday night.
The Hesston boys, now 21-2, overcame Southeast of Saline’s upset bid for a 55-49 victory and will play Wichita Collegiate (20-3) at 8:15 p.m. Thursday in the first round of the Class 3A State Tournament at the Hutchinson Sports Arena. A Swather win and they would play at 8:15 p.m. Friday against the winner of 23-1 Sabetha and 18-5 Riverton. Scott City (22-1) is the favorite on the other side of the bracket.
The Swathers had to tighten up on the defensive end after a quarter, as they found themselves down 19-13. The Trojans still were up 28-24 at the half.
Hesston gave up just six points in the third quarter to inch ahead 35-34, then clinched the game at the foul line in the fourth quarter, making eight free throws in 10 attempts.
Grant Raleigh scored 16 points in the first half to keep Hesston in it and went on to finish with 23. Tyler McCartney closed with a rush, scoring 10 of the team’s 20 points in the fourth quarter and had 15 for the game.
The undefeated and No. 1-ranked Hesston girls came out breathing fire against Lyons, the team they defeated for the state title last year.
Hesston socked Lyons with a 17-4 first quarter to key a 36-20 first half. Lyons never could make a dent as the Swathers finished off a 59-42 win.
The 23-0 Swathers will play at 6:30 p.m. Wednesday against 14-9 Galena.
Eight Swathers scored, including 16 points by Cami Richardson and 14 by Jessanna Nebel, who had one of her top scoring nights of the year.
If Hesston wins its opener, it would play either Sabetha (20-3) or Beloit (20-3) at 6:30 p.m. Friday. Cimarron (23-0) is the top team from the other side of the bracket.